Can I still plug a mouse into a laptop with broken USB ports?
June 5, 2016 9:19 AM   Subscribe

My cheap Dell laptop has finally lost both of its regular USB ports. (Sooner or later you jerk either the laptop or the mouse, and the little plastic rectangle snaps off where the USB plug connects to the laptop.) If I buy a USB-to-HDMI adapter, could I plug my mouse into my laptop's HDMI port? Or if I go to a repair shop, will they be able to fix the USB ports?
posted by destinyland to Technology (8 answers total)
Does the laptop have Bluetooth? If so, just use a Bluetooth mouse.
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 9:21 AM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think you can replace a broken USB port.
posted by J. Wilson at 9:37 AM on June 5, 2016

Laptop repair shops can fix this for you pretty easily. If you are comfortable soldering or learning how you can also do it for yourself. There are countless youtube videos on how to do it and you should be able to find a dissassembly video for your laptop model.
posted by srboisvert at 9:56 AM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

No, you can't use USB over HDMI. There are adapters to use HDMI over USB, but not to use USB over HDMI (because this is not possible). You can replace the ports, though it requires soldering or use Bluetooth.
posted by ssg at 9:57 AM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thanks for all the input! There's no Bluetooth on this laptop -- but yeah, it'd be even better if I could just solder in some new USB ports. (And ssg just saved me from buying a USB-to-HDMI adapter that was never going to work.)

I guess now I just have to worry about whether I can trust my local repair shop to solder in new USB ports. :) Maybe I'm hoping they'd be able to solder in the ports without disassembling the whole laptop...
posted by destinyland at 10:05 AM on June 5, 2016

The usb-hdmi adapters are actually mini graphics cards that run over usb and output hdmi, thats why the mouse wouldnt work. (And ive heard they dont work very well, particularly for video, usb doesn't have the bandwidth)
posted by TheAdamist at 11:30 AM on June 5, 2016

If you just broke the little tabs inside it should be an easy fix for the repair shop. That part just solders right onto the board and is cheap. Don't let them charge you a fortune...and be more careful pulling out plugs in the future (pull from the plug, straight out, not from the cord)...breaking an electrical plug can be really dangerous.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:46 AM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

In my experience very few computer repair shops would try component level repair on a system board due to lack of skills or possibility of issues at a later date. Call around and be prepared for "you need a new system board".
posted by anti social order at 6:21 AM on June 6, 2016

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